Phoenix Suns (28-21 32-24-1 ATS) vs. New Orleans Hornets (26-21 23-24 ATS) New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, LA 8 PM EST Monday February 1, 2010 on NBA TV
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Suns +1/Hornets -1
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The Saints are not the only game in town, as tonight in the Big Easy the New Orleans Hornets host the Phoenix Suns. The Suns are 5 games under .500 on the road this season, but they have won their last 2 games, including their last one on the road, are only 4-6 in their last 10 games, and trail the L.A. Lakers by 9.5 games in the Pacific Division.
While you would think the Hornets’ season is looking up since they are coming off a win, are 6-4 in their last 10, and only trail the Dallas Mavericks by 4 games in the Southwest Division, but they recently got some bad news, as star PG Chris Paul may miss 2 months since he may need knee surgery.
This season the Hornets are 16-5 at home and the Suns are 10-15 on the road.
With Paul possibly out for some time you may think that the Hornets are cooked. That may not be the case, as backup PG rookie Darren Collison (6.8 ppg 3.2 assists per game) had been solid in Paul’s absence late last year averaging 14.9 ppg and 6.4 assists per game in 8 games. He will have to man the ship for a while and keep the Hornets in the playoff race until Paul returns.
Collison is not the only rookie in the lineup these days or the Hornets, as Marcus Thornton (10.2 ppg) is not the starting SG since New Orleans traded away Devin Brown last week. Since becoming a starter Thornton has played well averaging 17.8 ppg in his last 4 games.
The Suns are the highest scoring team in the league and Collison has to play well against Suns’ PG Steve Nash (18.3 ppg), who is 2nd in the league in assists per game.
The Hornets also have to play good D on Amare Stoudemire (20.9 ppg 8.3 rpg), who has been a thorn in the side of New Orleans averaging 27 ppg and 7.7 rpg in his last 3 games against them.
The Suns are not a good team on D and they have to play solid perimeter defense on Collison, Thornton, and especially Peja Stojakovic (11.7 ppg), who has averaged 22.3 ppg on 55.2% shooting in the last 3 games against the Suns in New Orleans.
Phoenix has lost 4 of their last 5 games in New Orleans.
In their last game the Suns beat the Houston Rockets 115-111 in OT yesterday. The high scorer for Phoenix in the game was Amare Stoudemire going for 36 points on 12/22 shooting and he grabbed 11 boards. For the game the Suns shot 40/83 for a FG% of 48.2%. On D the Suns actually played decent holding the Rockets to 40/106 shooting for a FG% of 37.7%.
The Hornets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 109-102 on Saturday. The high scorer for the Hornets in the game was David West going for 22 points on 9/13 shooting. For the game the Hornets shot 40/84 from the field for a FG% of 47.6%. On defense the Hornets allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 44/99 for a FG% of 43.4%.
This season the Suns are the top-ranked scoring unit averaging 109.9 ppg and the Hornets rank 16th (99.9 ppg). On defense the Hornets rank 18th in points allowed (100.9 ppg) and the Suns only rank 29th (107.9 ppg). Neither team has played well on the boards this season, as the Hornets have a rebounding differential of -2.8 rpg and the Suns are at -1.8 rpg.
According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Suns rank 12th (92.25) and the Hornets rank 18th (90.03).
New Orleans is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games, and has an Over record of 5-0 in their last 5 games, and an Over total of 4-1 in their last 5 games at home.
Phoenix is 4-9 ATS in their last 13 games, 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games following an ATS win, has an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 games, and an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 road games.
Phoenix is 2-9 ATS in the last 11 meetings against New Orleans and in 6 of the last 8 meetings between these 2 teams the total has gone Over.
On the injury front SF Grant Hill is day-to-day for Phoenix and Chris Paul is day-to-day and SF James Posey is Out for New Orleans.
Jason’s Pick: The big key in this game is how the rookie backcourt of New Orleans plays. I think they will have a good game and they are lucky having to play a weak defensive team like Phoenix. Many are overstating the loss of Chris Paul. Collison is a capable floor general. The Hornets will come out firing and they will win this home game.